Monday, April 11, 2011

CONNECTIONS: Parallels Between Patrick Flinn's "Literacy with an Attitude" and Delpit/Kozol

     As I read the Preface to Flinn's, "Literacy with an Attitude," I had numerous thoughts running through my head that connected the ideas Flinn was outlining to FNED.  First I thought about the quote on Dr. Bogad's blog from Gandhi.  Flinn must be a firm believer in"Be the change you wish to see in the world" because in his preface, he was not only pointing out the inequalities he saw in the educational system and the difficulties that young working class students must combat but more importantly he was calling out TEACHERS, PARENTS and OLDER STUDENTS to

                                                    "understand the mechanisms that have subverted honest efforts to give working- 
                                                    class children a decent education. They must understand the rela- 
                                                    tionships between society, culture, language, and schooling. They 
                                                    must. understand the relationships between progressive methods, 
                                                    liberating education, and powerful literacy on the one hand and 
                                                    traditional methods, domesticating education, and functional lit-eracy on the other. "

     I also saw relations between this idea and Lisa Delpit's "The Silenced Dialogue."  Delpit argues that those who are a part of the "culture of power" are responsible for showing people that are not a part of the culture of power (The Working Class, according to Flinn) how to function in that system.  Delpit would have agreed with Flinn, especially when he says that teachers (assuming they are white authority figures) are responsible for helping children become literate.  

                      Flinn's "Literate"  =  Delpit's "Culture of Power"

     Flinn talks about Kozol on the first page of chapter one, so it is obvious that there is a connection between Flinn and Kozol.  When I think about Kozol piece that we read in relation to Flinn, the part that really stood out to me was the part about the incinerator.  The upper class didn't want the incinerator in their neighborhood, but they did not mind when it was in the poorer neighborhood.  This is much like how Flinn says today's upper classes are literate and not much is being done to help the struggling working class.  If the struggling working class student got help becoming literate, or the incinerator removed from their neighborhood, it would be easier for them to succeed.  However, there was a difference between these two authors, I thought that Kozol was calling out the upper class for causing this problem while Flinn isn't calling anyone out but rather pointing out that it exists and this is what the upper class can do to help fix it.



  1. There were a lot of connections in this piece and I also noticed the connection between Kozol and Finn. I completely agree with you on the fact that in Kozol's piece he was calling out the upper class as the cause of the problem while in Finn's piece he wasn't calling out anyone and he was just simply stating the fact that the issue does exist and we need to do something about it. I think that's what made me like Finn way more than Kozol.

  2. Sarah, I agree that Finn is saying what's wrong. In this case I felt that he could easily be related to Johnson, only that we need to just say it. And I think Finn shows that he knows what the issues are. Connor, The Delpit Culture of Power is so dominant in this piece and I am so on the same page as you with that statement.